Philadelphia Fleabane

(Erigeron philadelphicus)

Other Names:
Virginia Fleabane, daisy fleabane, common fleabane, marsh, fleabane, frost-root, skervish, poor robin’s plantain


Asteraceae – Composite family

Growth Type:
A native, biennial or short-lived, somewhat weedy, perennial herb

1 - 3 foot-tall

Stem is leafless, A sparse rosette of basal leaves (1½ - 6¼ inch long). The basal leaves are ovate (widest near the base) with toothed margins. Another group of smaller, lanceolate leaves surround and clasp the stem near the base. The leaves and stems can be sparsely pubescent to quite hairy.

The flowers grow on branches atop a 1 - 3 foot-tall leafless, usually single, stem that grows out of a sparse rosette of basal leaves (1½ - 6¼ inch long). Each branch can bear from a few to several flowers or drooping closed buds.

Not observed

Flower Season:

Flower Appearance:
The aster-like flowers (½ – 1 inch in diameter), which bloom in the spring, have yellow centers of tubular disk flowers (1 - 1¼ inch long), surrounded by from 100-150 narrow, white to pinkish-purple rays.


Miscellaneous characteristics:
The common name "fleabane" is from Old English and it refers to the plant’s odor, which supposedly can repel fleas.

Wet meadows, open fields, flood plains, lowland woodlands, thickets, fields, along streams, low pastures, wet roadsides and seepage areas. Grows best in full sun, but will tolerate dappled shade.

Parts Used:
Aerial parts

Wild Food Uses:
None Known

The following text is meant for informational purposes only. It is not meant to diagnose or treat any illness or injury. Always consult with a physician or other qualified medical care provider concerning the diagnosis and treatment of any illness or injury.

Medicinal Uses:
Can be used as a natural insecticide. It is important to note however that this plant contains high levels of the natural pesticide pyrethrum, which has been known to cause skin sensitivity in some people. The plant has been mixed with other herbs and used to also treat headaches and inflammation of the nose and throat. The tea was used to break fevers. The plant was boiled and mixed with tallow to make a balm that could be spread upon sores on the skin. It was used for as an eye medicine to treat "dimness of sight." It was used as an astringent, a diuretic, and as an aid for kidneys or the gout. The Cherokee and Houma tribes boiled the roots to make a drink for "menstruation troubles" and to induce miscarriages (to treat "suppressed menstruation"). It was also used to treat hemorrhages and for spitting of blood. The Catawba used a drink from the plant to treat heart trouble.

Medicinal Actions:
Astringent, Diaphoretic, Diuretic, Emmenagogue

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